Jesus’ parable of the three friends (Luke 11:5-13) challenges us in our view of friendship, and invites us into a fresh understanding. At its heart, the parable in search of evidence of friendship is laid before us to address the question of God’s covenant friendship. What is the evidence of God’s covenant friendship? He gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask.
This Holy Spirit is associated with wisdom, love, and power; with companionship, comfort, and courage; with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
To return to the dynamic at play in the parable: I come to you, having reached the end of my wisdom, my love having worn thin, my courage run out. This is not hypothetical; I am, among other things, the father of two (out of three) children on the Autism Spectrum; like all children (and even more so) they don’t come with a manual (though, God knows, plenty of books have been written offering advice).
You, however, are fresh out of wisdom, love, and courage, at this moment in time. Which is no slight against you, for, we’ve all been there, right? So, you turn to another friend, God, in prayer and say, “My friend, Andrew, needs some wisdom right now, and I haven’t any to offer, in evidence of my friendship. Could you lend me some? Indeed, could you lend me three loaves’ worth, so that you, Lord, and he and I can eat together?” (literal companionship is the sharing of bread with another.)
That’s how it works, my friend.